For many of us, the Covid restrictions have meant a change to our travel plans and the uncertainty about overseas holidays, coupled with the rise in dog ownership, means that more people than ever are opting for a British staycation and a holiday with their dog. Take a look at our advice on travelling with your dog.
Our guide to UK pet travel
Leaving your dog behind when you go away can be hard, so many owners choose to take their dog with them. There’s an outside chance that some people may take their cat on holiday, but it’s usually just dogs. It’s a lot harder to take a cat away with you, not least because you shouldn’t let them out in new areas for a couple of weeks – so they’d have to stay inside.
If you do decide to take your dog away with you, it’s worth spending a bit of extra time considering their needs over the holiday. Our advice should help to make the trip as straightforward and stress-free as possible.
We recommend that you avoid taking your dog on holiday if you’re unlikely to spend a lot of time with them. Leaving any dog alone in an unfamiliar place for long periods of time can cause them stress and anxiety.
Plan with your dog in mind
Make sure your holiday accommodation and destination are dog friendly, with lots of suitable activities. Most hotel booking sites allow you to search specifically for pet-friendly accommodation, and many UK campsites also allow dogs, as long as they’re kept on a lead. If you plan to hire a car, don’t forget to double check the hire company’s pet policy.
Car journeys with your dog
Most people travel to their UK holiday by car and it’s the easiest option for owners wanting to take their pet with them.
It’s important to ensure that your dog can travel comfortably and safely. The Highway Code states that pets should be suitably restrained so they can’t distract you while driving, or cause injury to you or themselves if you stop suddenly. A seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage, or dog guard are your best options for keeping them safe and secure in the car.
Dog’s deal with long car journeys on an individual basis; some are happy to fall asleep while others can become agitated and car sick, but there are lots of ways to help them be as comfortable as possible:
- Pack a large water bottle (five litres minimum for long journeys) to keep your dog hydrated. It can also be used to immediately cool them down if they start to overheat.
- During bright, warm weather, put sun shades on the windows to keep your dog cool, and keep the air conditioning on. Remember, never leave them alone in a hot car.
- Avoid feeding your dog within two hours of starting a long car journey to prevent car sickness. If your dog doesn’t travel well, you should speak to your vet about suitable travel sickness medication and other preventative measures.
- Bring a favourite toy or blanket to help calm your dog and give them a sense of security.
- Take regular pit stops to allow for toilet breaks and to let them stretch their legs. Remember, to keep them secured with a harness at all times.
- If your dog is in the front passenger seat, remember to switch off the passenger seat airbag to avoid injury.
- If your dog isn’t used to car travel, it’s a good idea to try and fit in a few ‘practice runs’ ahead of your holiday.
Pack a few of your dog’s favourite toys and a blanket to help them relax and give them a sense of security. If possible, try and bring their usual bedding to ensure they get a good night’s sleep, and don’t forget things like collars and dog leads.
Holiday routines are always going to be different. Try to settle your dog into a temporary routine as quickly as possible.
If your dog requires regular medication, always ensure you have enough to get you through the whole holiday.
Find a local vet
Remember to take note of where your nearest vet is once you’ve arrived at your destination, and find out if they offer a 24-hour service in case of an emergency.
Don’t forget to pack or have access to these must-haves when travelling with your dog:
- Favourite toy
- Food and treats
- Grooming accessories
- Waste bags
- Collar and lead
- Food and water bowls
- Pet Insurance policy documents and certificate (an email copy)
- A note of their microchip number
- Your vets contact details and details of your nearest vet
If your pet’s staying at home...
If you’re not able to take your pet on holiday with you, it’s a good idea to start finding a way of ensuring they can be well looked after while you’re away. It will make all the difference to your holiday if you can relax knowing they're safe and well.
A trusted friend or family member can work for the short term, but for longer holidays you may want to consider hiring a pet sitter or booking your pet into a kennel or cattery.
If you opt for a pet sitter, it can be hard to find someone you trust, particularly if they’ll have access to your home.
Your vet can help you plan for your travels with your pet.
For advice on the health of your pet, speak to your local Medivet practice.
Insurance can offer peace of mind, especially in challenging times. At Medivet, we are committed to providing trustworthy, expert advice that helps you care for your pet, including advice on choosing the right insurance policy to protect your pet.